45 Warm Appetizers for Cold-Weather Entertaining

Cold weather calls for hearty comfort food. Whether you're craving a light bite or need to keep hungry holiday guests occupied while you finish dinner, these 45 flavorful appetizer recipes are sure to fit the bill.

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Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Savour Imagery LLC

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm and Beall + Thomas Photography

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Photo By: Jennifer Jane

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Photo By: Courtesy Kelsey Nixon ©2012 CookingChannelTV.com

Savory Tomato + Goat Cheese Dip

Rich and melty, this hearty dip combines tomato's tang with the velvety creaminess of goat cheese. Serve it bubbly and hot from the oven with freshly toasted crostini.

Get the Recipe: Tomato Goat Cheese Dip

Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

Top warm and crunchy baguette slices with our sweet-meets-savory spread for a crowd-pleasing appetizer you can whip up in just minutes.

Get the Recipe: Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

Creamy Lump Crab and Corn Dip

Keep ravenous Thanksgiving guests at bay with this warm and creamy starter that features the fresh flavors of crab, corn and three different cheeses.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Lump Crab and Corn Dip

Bite-Size Shrimp + Grits

Shrimp and grits are not only crazy delicious, they're also easier to make than you may think — especially when you use a muffin tin to create single-serve portions. Follow our recipe, below, to learn how to make them ahead, then heat up pre-party, for a crowd-pleasing small bite that's oh-so-satisfying.

Get the Recipe: Make Shrimp and Grits in a Muffin Tin for Bite-Sized Southern Goodness

Mini Quiche Florentine

Vegetarians (just omit the bacon) and meat lovers alike will fall for these satisfying little mouthfuls. Store-bought pie crusts keep prep time to a minimum.

Get the Recipe: Mini Quiche Florentine Recipe

Tiny Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

The classic combination makes an ideal first bite. This is just enough of both soup and sandwich to get the party started.

Get the Recipe: Tiny Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Recipe

Smoked Gouda and Herb Puffs

These bite-sized balls of smoked, cheesy, herby goodness are the perfect appetizer for a dinner or cocktail party. Just be careful: They're so addictive that it's impossible to eat just one or two (or three)!

Get the Recipe: Smoked Gouda and Herb Puffs

Caramel-Covered Brie

This ooey-gooey recipe looks impressive but it really couldn't be easier to make. Your family and guests won't be able to get enough of the warm, flavorful cheese topped with decadent caramel sauce and crunchy pecans.

Get the Recipe: Caramel-Covered Brie Recipe

Classic French Onion Dip

Bubbly and hot, fresh from the oven, this dip packs in a lot of flavor and even includes a secret (and healthy) ingredient.

Get the Recipe: French Onion Dip

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits + Honey Ham

Comfort food has never tasted so good. Bake up a batch of from-scratch biscuits, then fill them with thinly sliced honey or country ham for a hearty bite to tide guests over till dinner is served.

Get the Recipe: Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits With Ham Recipe

Spicy Pulled-Pork Empanadas

Pulled pork gets a Cuban kick with these easy empanadas. Use leftover pulled pork or start from scratch for an irresistible handheld appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Pulled Pork Pie Crust Empanadas Recipe

Beer Cheese Dip

Why go out when you can whip up the pub favorite at home? Seasoned with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, horseradish and Worcestershire, this hot and spicy dip is guaranteed to warm up your guests on even the coldest of days.

Get the Recipe: Beer Cheese Recipe

Grilled Carne Adobo Skewers

Give beef skewers a Spanish-infused kick with a sauce made from chilies, spices and citrus juice.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Carne Adobo Skewers

Spicy Shrimp Toast

These decadent, bite-sized shrimp toasts are crisp, super savory and bursting with flavor. Coupled with the sweet chile sauce, they're the perfect cocktail party appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Shrimp Toast

Poppy Seed Pigs in a Pie Crust

The classic pigs in a blanket get a flaky upgrade with pie crust. Pairing great sausage with pie crust and poppy seeds takes this traditional hors d’oeuvre from mundane to magnificent.

Get the Recipe: Poppy Seed Pigs in a Pie Recipe

Focaccia With Tomato and Mozzarella

Irresistible when served hot from the oven, this focaccia is a great light snack for guests waiting for dinner to begin. Pile any leftovers high with slices of turkey or ham for an unbelievably good after-Thanksgiving sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Focaccia With Tomato and Mozzarella

Hot Honey, Walnut + Goat Cheese Crostini

Spicy honey and day-old bread for the crostini (for the perfect crunch) make this savory mouthful your new easy appetizer go-to.

See More Photos: 11 Ways to Top Crostini, No Cooking Required

Chile and Lime Roasted Cashews

Ancho chile and chipotle peppers give fresh roasted cashews just the right amount of heat. Serve the nuts hot out of the oven for a real treat.

Get the Recipe: Chile and Lime Roasted Cashews Recipe

Easy Smoked Salmon Cups

Using pre-made hash browns from the supermarket freezer section makes these oh-so-fancy-looking apps easy to whip up with just a few minutes of prep time.

Get the Recipe: One Secret Ingredient Makes These Elegant Smoked Salmon Cups a Breeze

Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos

With two types of chiles, these spicy steak mouthfuls are sure to warm up guests coming in from the cold. Cut down on prep time by making the tasty filling ingredients a day or two ahead of time, then stuffing mini taco shells right before guests arrive.

Get the Recipe: Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos Recipe

Homemade Pub-Style Pretzels

Soft and chewy, these yeasty pretzels are perfect for serving with one of our warm dip recipes or just pulling apart and munching on their own.

Get the Recipe: Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese Sauce Recipe

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Skewers

For a healthy light bite that'll fire up their tastebuds, try these spicy skewers that you can make ahead and refrigerate or whip up on the fly right before guests arrive.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Skewers

Braised Pork Belly on Homemade Biscuits

Succulent braised pork belly on fresh, from-scratch buttermilk biscuits is sure to tempt guests. The biscuit's scaled-down size ensures everyone can enjoy this homey comfort food without ruining their appetite.

Get the Recipe: Braised Pork Belly on From-Scratch Biscuits Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Fire up the slow cooker to whip up this cold-weather favorite that's always a crowd-pleaser. And, check out 9 more slow cooker recipes, below.

See More Photos: 10 Fall Slow Cooker Recipes for a Crowd

Avocado Fries

It almost doesn't seem possible that a perfectly ripe avocado could ever be improved upon, but these avocado fries prove it can be done.

Get the Recipe: Avocado Fries

Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins

If your cold-weather get-together includes gathering around the TV for a football game, then be sure to make these restaurant-style potato skins a star player in your appetizer lineup.

Get the Recipe: Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins

Homemade Pimento Cheese

Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., shares a Southern-style recipe for spicy pimento cheese. Serve chilled, straight from the fridge, or place in a casserole dish and heat in the oven till bubbly warm.

Get the Recipe: Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe

Mozzerella + Artichoke Wonton Bites

Only have an hour before your soiree? You can whip up these cheesy wonton bites and still have time to pour yourself a glass of wine before company arrives.

Get the Recipe: Mozzarella and Artichoke Wonton Bites Recipe

Spicy Cheese Straws

No fall or winter party is complete without the classic cheese straw. A savory combination of butter and cheese gets an added kick from cayenne pepper, making them a crowd-pleasing appetizer or hearty snack.

Get the Recipe: Trisha Yearwood's Cheese Straws Recipe

3 Ways to Whip Up Queso Fundido

Spanish for 'melted cheese,' queso fundido is also English for 'irresistibly delish bowl of bubbly awesomeness.' Try one of these super tasty dips at your next get-together to get your guests (happily) speaking in tongues.

Get the Recipe: Three Quick + Easy Queso Fundido Recipes

Baked Brie With Raspberry Preserves

Warm-and-gooey baked Brie always impresses, but its preparation couldn't be easier. It's the perfect starter to keep holiday guests satisfied while they wait for dinner to begin.

Get the Recipe: Baked Brie with Raspberry Preserves Recipe

Chicken + Waffle Bites With Honey-Mustard Slaw

Using storebought ingredients, you can quickly whip up these flavorful little sliders to satisfy guests' hunger on game day, holiday or any day.

Get the Recipe: Chicken and Waffle Bites with Maple-Mustard Slaw

Pepperoni Pizza Hand Pies

Just 10 basic ingredients are all you need to whip up these tasty little pockets of spicy, cheesy goodness.

Get the Recipe: Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza Hand Pies

Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella Bites

Just four ingredients — mozzarella bocconcini, peppers, olive oil and basil — are all you need to pull together a guest-impressing first course in a flash.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella Bites

Keftethakia Cocktail Meatballs

These Greek-inspired meatballs can be made ahead of time and reheated or even served at room temperature, making them perfect for impromptu get-togethers.

Get the Recipe: Keftethakia Cocktail Meatballs

Grilled Sausage + Pepper Quesadillas

Fire up the indoor (or outdoor) grill and get the party started with these hearty bites that'll have all the sausage-lovers on your guest list raving.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Sausage and Pepper Quesadillas

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Healthy and hearty, this savory dip can be served cold or at room temp and gets its heat courtesy of crushed red pepper flakes. Add even more fire with diced jalapenos or really kick it up with spicy serranos.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Pie Crust Parmesan Sticks

Short on pre-party prep time? Try this shortcut recipe, below, to turn a storebought pie crust into a delicious flaky, cheesy light bite.

Get the Recipe: Cheesy Pie Crust Parmesan Sticks Recipe

Healthy Parmesan Pesto Chicken Wings

Delight all the carnivores on your guest list and grill or bake this lightened-up version of traditionally fried wings for a savory kickoff to your get-together.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Parmesan Pesto Chicken Wings

Classic Cheese Fondue

Always a party favorite, cheese fondue can be made hours before serving. Serve with crunchy veggies and crusty bread.

Get the Recipe: Cheese Fondue

Blackened Tuna Bites

Tempt health-conscious guests with these sushi-inspired appetizers that get their heat from a healthy topping of wasabi or hot sauce.

Get the Recipe: Blackened Tuna Bites Recipe

Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Top flour tortillas with creamy goat cheese and guava jam for a crowd-pleasing starter that can be made in minutes.

Get the Recipe: Goat Cheese Quesadilla

Maple Chili Popcorn

Food Network's Jeff Mauro of The Sandwich King shares this endlessly munchable spicy-meets-sweet recipe that's great as both a light snack before a big holiday meal and for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later. Make several batches a day or two before your get-together then store the popcorn in an airtight container.

Get the Recipe: Maple Chili Popcorn

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Fire up guests' appetites with shot glasses filled with this spicy vegetarian soup.

Get the Recipe: Carrot-Ginger Soup Recipe

Nut-Crusted Brie With Cherry Chutney

Almonds, pecans and walnuts add a crunchy finish to toasty, gooey Brie. Serve with our tangy cherry chutney for an appetizer that's sure to wow your guests.

Get the Recipe: Biltmore Estate's Nut Crusted Brie with Cherry Chutney

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